Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) established a field hospital in Port au Prince. The hospital started operating 89 h after the earthquake. We describe the experience of the orthopaedic department in a field hospital operating in an extreme mass casualty situation.
The hospital contained 4 operating table and 72 hospitalization beds. The orthopaedic department included 8 orthopaedic surgeons and 3 residents.
1111 patients were treated in the hospital, 1041 of them had adequate records for inclusion. 684 patients were admitted due to trauma with a total of 841 injuries. 320 patients sustained 360 fractures, 18 had joint dislocations and 22 patients were admitted after amputations. 207 patients suffered 315 soft tissue injuries. 221 patients were operated on under general or regional anaesthesia. External fixation was used for stabilization of 48 adult femoral shaft fractures, 24 open tibial fractures and 1 open humeral fracture. All none femoral closed fractures were treated non-operatively. 18 joint reductions and 23 amputations were performed.
Appropriate planning, training, operational versatility, and adjustment of therapeutic guidelines according to a constantly changing situation, enabled us to deliver optimal care to the maximal number of patients, in an overwhelming mass trauma situation.
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Accepted: March 25, 2011
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